Vladimir Putin took aim at President Biden, Bill Clinton and the CIA in his hotly anticipated interview with Tucker Carlson, where he praises George Bush and gushes over ‘very smart’ Elon Musk.’
The two-hour interview was posted on Carlson’s website, the Tucker Carlson Network, shortly before 6pm on Thursday.
Speaking through a translator, Putin started off by responding to a question about the Ukraine war with: ‘Are we having a talk show or a serious interview?’
He then offered Carlson a ‘historical background’ of the conflict in the region, before defending his military’s action.
From then on, he made a range of bombshell claims, including:
- Bill Clinton offered Russia a place in NATO, but was overruled by his staff
- Russia has superior ‘supersonic missiles’ to every other nation
- Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is a ‘spy’
- The CIA blew up the Nord Stream Pipeline
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen in his Tucker Carlson interview on Thursday night
Carlson introduced the interview by appearing in a snowy Red Square
Tucker Carlson with Vladimir Putin in their hotly anticipated interview
During the White House daily briefing on Thursday, Communications Coordinator John Kirby told reporters that Americans shouldn’t believe anything Putin says
Putin touted his nation’s military prowess, saying the Russian forces ‘created hypersonic systems with intercontinental range, and we continue to develop them. We are now ahead of everyone, the United States and the other countries in terms of the development of hypersonic strike systems. And we are improving them every day.’
The interview comes at a crucial time in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the Biden administration coming under mounting scrutiny for its continued support of Ukrainian President Zelensky’s expensive defense against Putin’s army.
Putin dominated the opening to the two-hour conversation, beginning with a slow history of Russian territory, which Carlson said in a short intro that he initially believed the Russian president was using a ‘filibustering technique’ to the question of why he triggered the conflict.
When asked what the decisive moment was that made up his mind to launch his attack, Putin responded, ‘initially, it was the coup in Ukraine’ – referencing the removal of Zelensky’s predecessor Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
‘And what triggered the current events? Firstly, the current Ukrainian leadership would not implement the Minsk Agreements,’ Putin continued. The Minsk Agreements were a series of treaties that sought to end the Donbas War between Ukraine and Russian separatist groups, signed in 2014.
As the conversation turned to Putin’s decades-long relationship with the US, he bristled at the notion a change of president would change the outcome of the war – but praised Trump.
‘You just asked me if another leader comes and changes something? It is not about the leader,’ he said.
‘It is not about the personality of a particular person. I had a very good relationship with say Bush. I know that in the United States, he was portrayed as some kind of a country boy who does not understand much. I assure you that this is not the case.’
He continued that he had a similarly warm relationship with former President Donald Trump, saying: ‘It is not about the personality of the leader. It is about the elites mindset, leader deal.
‘If the idea of domination at any cost, based also on forceful actions dominates the American society, nothing will change. It will only get worse.’
Carlson, 54, announced that he would be interviewing the Russian leader earlier this week, with the interview set to go live tonight on X at 6pm
Carlson’s interview with the Russian leader sparked backlash among Western media for his treatment of the free press in his nation, including the ongoing imprisonment of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershowitz.
While the US says the reporter is wrongly detained, Putin claimed Gershowitz is a spy.
‘You know, you can give a different interpretations to what constitutes a spy. But there are certain things provided by law. If a person gets secret information and does that in conspiratorial manner, then this is qualified as espionage,’ he said.
Today, before the interview dropped, White House Communications Coordinator John Kirby told Americans not to believe ‘anything’ in the interview.
‘Anybody that watches that interview you need to make sure to remember that you are listening to Vladimir Putin,’ he said.
‘You shouldn’t take at face value anything he has to say.’
Kirby added: ‘The American people know well who is at fault here, and I think they know that there was no ground whatsoever for the invasion two years ago.
‘He invaded a neighboring country without provocation, Ukraine wasn’t a threat to anybody.
‘The American people understand that, the American people understand what Ukraine is fighting for.
‘All they’re asking for is our help, they’re not asking for boots on the ground. I don’t think the American people are going to be swayed by one interview.’
While Democrats have bristled at the thought of Carlson giving Putin a platform – including Hillary Clinton branding Carlson a ‘useful idiot’ – others are embracing it.
Robert Kennedy Jr. praised Carlson’s efforts earlier this week, saying he had every right to speak to the world leader and inform the public of stance.
The Kremlin gleefully promoted the interview earlier this week.
The controversial interview has drawn criticism from the White House and the EU, both of whom say Putin cannot be trusted and should not be listened to.
In promotional videos, Carlson said he conducted the interview out of duty to the American people who deserve to know more about the conflict in Ukraine.